Viking Metal - Soon Will Cease To Be?

Written by: Mindheist
Published: 05.07.2006
Introduction :

I choose these words taken from wikipedia to begin with, ["Viking metal is a cross-genre reference usually used to describe the lyrical and thematic elements of bands rather than the music itself"]. The lyrics usually found on this style are, no doubt, struggling to preserve the dark/sad side of this kind of metal. All began in the 80s, when folkloric stuff emerged with other styles to forge a new opus called "Viking metal" that speaks about Norse mythology and Viking life. Yet, what has set many death/black metal bands among the others since the very beginning is their use of barbaric themes and imagery in lyrics that come near the heavy metal music. And quite naturally, the first forger of this king was Led Zeppelin in "Immigrant Song" (lyrically and a bit musically) when they have gone from the heavy to the Nordic themes in that era. Though, there are more releases that contain these themes as far from the realms of death as you can possibly imagine, that's why many who classify bands say "any band that uses Nordic tales and mythology in their songwriting is definitely a Viking Metal band," but there is a lot of bands under this influences, and this makes classification almost impossible. Furthermore, there are death/black metal bands that make use these elements such as Amon Amarth and Bathory (Blood fire Death, Hammerheart) and even progressive bands etc…should we then classify them as Viking metallers? Okay, maybe in some releases of Bathory that were plenty of different themes (anti-Christian, Nordic, pessimistic, Satanic, Pagan, or occult theme…) we can say that but not to generalize. Although, the Viking metal is a cross-genre that gives importance to lyrics more than the music itself, so it's not a veritable style like the others, it's perhaps, the son of black metal but with some other slayers like swords, daggers, and iron furniture and also some folkloric instruments.

Characteristics:

Well, the most qualified example that could satisfy you is Metal storm, I previously asked Jeff why they don't yet add the Viking metal, he said that we cannot technically classify it as a specific sub-genre with its own aspects and soon it will cease to be. Entirely right, it's merely a sub-genre of debated heavy metal. Yet, the heavy metal contains a huge number of genres ranging from the largely epic death/black metal to the more gory/obscure funeral doom. The thing here is that funeral doom is none other than doom metal but with other literally influences that changed completely its categorization and it was the case of Viking metal which is based on paganism, Viking/folk theme and anti-Christianity. Moreover, the number of bands is growing each day, and each band tries to perform his influences as well as possible, some of these bands gained mainstream prominence. Thus, most of them are Scandinavians (sons of northern darkness). The music is usually plenty with honour and valour yet with faithfulness and epicness in composition similar to Norse/heaven itself but technically its just the heavy/black metal with some folkloric instruments (as I said before).

History:

The old roots of Viking Metal can be traced more or less to 1988 when the Swedish black metaller(s) Bathory released his third record titled Hammerheart. He has incorporated mythical and Nordic themes in both the artwork and the lyrics on Hammerheart. The music had a very special bombastic sound seeing that's the first Viking metal or should I say the first folk/heavy/black metal album in that period. Bathory has released the second and even the third album which inspired the genre and gathered all the elements to create his own style. Otherwise, the father of Viking metal is a well known black metaller.

Classification:

Many of the so-called Viking metal bands including Moonsorrow do not have Viking related themes. However there is a lot of bands which inspire their lyrics from Viking life and deal with them perfectly but are officially classified as black, death or heavy metal. The being said is that defining sub-genres is becoming increasingly hard as many bands continue to evolve refusing the remain within one particular style. So you might have a band today with multiple albums as (Thyrfing, Nebelhorn or Moonsorrow) that might probably be found in different sub-genres. Take "Voimasta ja Kunniasta" or Suden Uni, they are both of them releases of Moonsorrow. However it would be very difficult to classify them under the primary genre that each band is mostly known for. So, classifying albums under only one definitive sub-genre is just ridiculous, yet that is exactly what's happening with a lot of metalzines. Also, Einherjer (R.I.P) if you go to their website you'll see in the front page "The Art Of Viking Metal." However, they are not…ok I can't deny that literally they were but musically they were not, have you seen Einherjer in one track using the flute, strange melodies or weird instruments? No. Moreover, you have the example of Behemoth (it's not a Viking metal band but his example is useful to clear some points) who was a black metal band in 90's and a blackened death metal band since Demigod, why? Because each band won't stop to push the boundaries of his style and then deriving to the other sub-genres (by the year 2010, Behemoth will mix his blackened death influences with some Viking themes and then many shall classify them under an individual style called Viking metal or whatever).

Results:

If we stick on this way, we will have a never ending list of derived sub-sub-genres to deal with and then we will be all lost and confused and the old sub-genres will be surely forgotten such as Viking metal and many others…

Conclusion:

Viking Metal is closely related to Black/heavy metal. It is generally sounding with symphonic elements and choirs. The difference is the containing and subject matter. Viking Metal music is based on ancient Scandinavian folklore in lyrics and music. Despite the freakish vocals it is quite worth-listening and somewhat contagious. Although, it's a sub-genres and then it'll be forgotten soon and with no regret seeing that we are creating a lot of sub-genres rapidly and with full-throttle.

And soon the Viking metal will cease to be…


 
Guest article disclaimer:
This is a guest article, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.




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Dark Cornatus - 26.09.2006 at 09:00  
It was never about the lyrics, nor was anyone ever making it an official genre. You have the wrong idea i think.
It was used to classify those bands that are not folk, doom, black or power metal, but a mixture of them. When someone asks me what genre Moonsorrow is, i call it viking metal, and people understand.
Who said vikings played the flute? That is folk metal. Viking metal is basically war themed music, using repetitive riff structures.
Lucas - 26.09.2006 at 18:05  
It wont cease to exist, as there will be bands playing this and people loving this.

Well, perhaps the name 'Viking' will be forgotten (though I doubt it) but at least the combination of Black & Folk will still be played.
Promonex - 26.09.2006 at 18:23  
The only point of this article is that sub-genres are bound to disappear because they are sub-genres. Nothing more, nothing less. Thus I don't quite understand why this article is about Viking Metal in particular, a genre that actually has its heydey right now, 18 years after it's been created, and which here in Germany has more festivals devoted to than most other specified genres - i.e. Ragnarök Festival and Ultima Ratio Festival for Viking/Pagan Metal opposed to the Doom Shall Rise Festival for Doom Metal and the Thrash Till Death Festival for Thrash Metal. So why not rather write about the demise of Doom or Thrash Metal instead?
TheSlaughter - 27.09.2006 at 00:07  
Lets see what ANUS says shall we?

"In part as a culmination of the ideology of black metal, which being a Romanticist genre favors naturalism and nationalism alongside a heroic view of death as secondary to achievement of greatness, folkish and Viking black metal crested the mostly Scandinavian wave of original black metal and gave it room for expansion by incorporating Norse and Germanic traditional folk music melodies into the riff-based metal song structure. Contrary to popular belief, not all of these bands have controversial ideologies, although all embrace nationality and ethnic-cultural heritage, but some have become controversial for their traditionalist leanings. Medieval imagery predominates, as does that of the Viking and berserker mythos, while the music incorporates ancient-sounding melodies and a virile spirit of asserting natural and biologically elitist ways of life. This style flourished briefly and then tapered off into soundtrack-like pieces which resemble a collision between a black metal band and the Dead Can Dance tour bus, using keyboards in layers while guitars provide narrative centering, backed by a rasping, rhythmic vocal. While vestiges of this form exist today, most have been incorporated into bands that resemble faster versions of the 1970s neoclassical (Yngwie Malmsteen) shredder heavy metal with black metal vocals."

REAL Viking bands include:
Isenguard, Summoning, Enslaved, Graveland, Heidenreich and Infernum

As much as I love Ensiferum and Tyr, they arent really real Viking metal. Ensiferum is more or less Extreme Power metal with Viking undertones and Tyr is Progressive Heavy Metal with viking undertones.
Skald - 27.09.2006 at 09:57  
@TheSlaughter: If you think Enslaved is Viking Metal, then you don't know a thing
Download Manegarm's "I Evig Tid" (from their website) and see what it is about. It has typical VM drumming, guitars and vocals.
Dark Cornatus - 27.09.2006 at 11:36  
Isengard is barely Viking either though, more like Black / Thrash.
Lokomotiv - 28.09.2006 at 02:27  
Well, I do think Viking Metal concept had been over-used and abused, and certainly that makes people tired... I used to like bands like Helheim, Bathory and Isengard, but now lost totally my interest on the genre... well, I still listen to Enslaved but they're genre-trascending.
Marcel Hubregtse - 28.09.2006 at 16:18  
Written by Guest on 27.09.2006 at 00:07

Lets see what ANUS says shall we?





Lets first of all FORGET what ANUS has to say about anything shall we?
TheSlaughter - 28.09.2006 at 18:35  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 28.09.2006 at 16:18

Written by Guest on 27.09.2006 at 00:07

Lets see what ANUS says shall we?




Nah, because they are right.
Lets first of all FORGET what ANUS has to say about anything shall we?
Mindheist - 28.09.2006 at 20:06  
Written by Promonex on 26.09.2006 at 18:23

The only point of this article is that sub-genres are bound to disappear because they are sub-genres. Nothing more, nothing less. Thus I don't quite understand why this article is about Viking Metal in particular, a genre that actually has its heydey right now, 18 years after it's been created, and which here in Germany has more festivals devoted to than most other specified genres - i.e. Ragnarök Festival and Ultima Ratio Festival for Viking/Pagan Metal opposed to the Doom Shall Rise Festival for Doom Metal and the Thrash Till Death Festival for Thrash Metal. So why not rather write about the demise of Doom or Thrash Metal instead?


Ok, look, you are entirely right. However, i could not speak about all sub-genres, so i choose one particular which is, nowadays, rising and blastin' as, what did the Drone/sludge metal before. And to me, Viking Metal is not like the others sub-genres, it's a beauty, but either way, we must classify its bands as it should even be. Seriously, is it silly to claim that Moonsorrow are Viking Metal? their masterming in an interview with Blabbermouth said Moonsorrow is a pagan heathen metal band. It's just ridiculous...they are black metal, what does these words (pagan, heathen metal) do with that. I really love Moonsorrow, they are perfect, but i have to do it justice. Moonsorrow aren't Viking metal. you get? MS members must know that and every metalhead. Im' not against creating but against forgetting.

And also Thanks for reading my article Promo
Skald - 28.09.2006 at 22:44  
What the hell? Moonsorrow are one of the best examples of Viking Metal
And as to them being black metal - that's more than ridiculous. But seeing as people call black metal bands like Moonsorrow, Ensiferum, Children of Bodom or... Red Hot Chili Peppers, it must be the most diverse sub-genre of metal. I'm only waiting until someone labels Britney Spears as such.
And by the way, I absolutely can't stand black metal, while Moonsorrow is one of my favorite bands. Funny how that works.
Angelique - 01.10.2006 at 02:37  
An interesting article but I don't think Viking Metal is a genre nor subgenre. Genre is something that describes the music, the style and the lyrical themes, term Viking Metal doesn't. It only describes certain atmospehere in the music but it doesn't describe the music like for example power, thrash, death, folk or black metal, as far as it comes to viking metal it can be any style or like usually mix of everything.
If someone tells you that this new band that you haven't heard yet plays viking metal you certainly can imagine the athmosphere of their music right away yet you can't have no idea how they sound musically, it can be anything from folk metal with flutes and harps to black metal with viking themed lyrics.
Terms Pagan/Heathen metal falls into same category with Viking metal and are used for bands that has the very same athmosphere but denies the viking connection (for example Moonsorrow, they're Finns, their influences comes from ancient Finnish history, and as Finns don't have anything to do with vikings that way they don't want to be called viking metal).
I personally use term Viking metal a lot, it's a good way to describe certain type of black/folk/power metal bands that are quite a lot different feeling/sounding from main genre because of their scandinavian culture influences but still, we can't set any clear musical critearias for Viking metal as a genre or even a subgenre so that way it's just a term not a genre.
Back to the article, if your point is that this type of metal is soon to be disappear and forgotten, I really don't think so, we haven't even seen it big yet. In scandinavia the trend is getting old but only now it's ganing international interest in bigger masses, like Promo said there are several festivals for only this type of metal all over the europe.I think it's more like at the moment we are having a kind of quiet period as the first generation of viking metal bands got bored already and are changing into something else and the next generation are still playing in the garages lol
Skald - 01.10.2006 at 10:24  
Written by Angelique on 01.10.2006 at 02:37

we can't set any clear musical critearias for Viking metal as a genre or even a subgenre so that way it's just a term not a genre.
We meaning who? I can easily point out musical elements, which are responsible for creation of the epic atmosphere. Mostly thanks to checking out numerous viking metal bands and taking a look at what traditional viking music was supposed to sound like, according to Danish and Icelandic reports and musicians who attempt to play such music today.
Angelique - 01.10.2006 at 11:26  
Go ahead then, give me the clear musical criterias of Viking Metal, what makes it musically different from other genres such folk metal or black metal? What makes some band Viking metal even their lyrical themes don't involve viking culture and then again does lyrical theme make a black metal band viking metal?
Skald - 01.10.2006 at 17:38  
Sure thing. But first, one thing I have to point out is that what defines viking metal, or in other words what people commonly see as viking metal is based strongly on our perception of the actual vikings. No matter whether we realise it or not, all history, media and cultural influences that spread through most of Europe during (and after) viking raids, have a strong impact on what we perceive as "viking" elements and when those elements appear in metal music, there's a strong tendency to call it Viking Metal. Like in case of Moonsorrow, who are called like that, despite not having viking themes. But here are the elements:

Firstly vocals - The most characteristic style, also rarely found in other forms of metal, is the deep (and often very prolonged) form achieved by neglecting nose while singing. Another form of music that uses this vocal are the working songs. First mention about them comes from Icelandic sagas, today it is performed mostly by the sailors. Modern working song (sea shanty) can be found here. It should well describe what kind of vocal I have in mind. Because working songs were used by workers to add entertaining value to their munduane jobs, as well coordinate their tasks, this style includes many choirs, which often overlap or create background for the lead vocal. Another commonly used form is lead vocalist beginning part of a song, while the choir ends it, or accompanies in the ending part. The best example of this can be found in Ásmegin music. And while I'm at it, chants were also commonly used by the vikings, mostly while performing rituals.
Another vocal style used in viking metal is common among other genres. That would be growls. Sure, it doesn't seperate it from other genres, but it's also important in viking metal. Maybe because vikings also used growl vocals. I know it may sound silly, but it was actually recorded by foreigners who simply hated viking songs. This is my favorite quote (from Arab who visited Denmark in 10th century: "Never before I have heard uglier songs than those of the Vikings in Slesvig. The growling sound coming from their throats reminds me of dogs howling, only more untamed." I suppose this also means their growls were more chant-like than those we hear today, which means there's still place for development within viking metal.
Clean singing other than the one I mentioned is very rare in viking metal. I've heard some bands which used power metal vocals and this may be my subjective opinion, but although I like power metal, together it sounded awful.
Good examples of viking metal singing:
Moonsorrow - "Raunioilla"
Ásmegin - "Til Rondefolkets Herskab"
Ensiferum - "Dragonheads"
Månegarm - "I Evig Tid"
Nomans Land - "Lord of The Seas"

Secondly, drums. This aspect was spread even by TV. In movies about vikings you'll see viking ship, where one person is hitting drums to coordinate rowing. So it's not really surprising that specific drumming makes us think of the vikings. In viking metal this takes a form of a mid-tempo rhytmical drumming. It'll be quite repetetive for the most part, but once in a while you'll hear a more complex interlude. Although more of melodeath, lately Amon Amarth uses some viking metal influences, and this can be found in drumming. If you'll watch "The Pursuit of Vikings" video, the drummer there shows how it looks like.
Good examples of viking metal drumming:
Thyrfing - "The Voyager"
Bathory - "Vinland"
Månegarm - "I Evig Tid"
Moonsorrow - "Raunioilla"
Falkenbach - "Vanadis"

Guitar riffs are usually simple and repetetive, while the melody tends to be epic, melancholic, or seafaring-sounding. Anything goes, as long as it deals with aspects of viking life. This is probably the only element which isn't reflected by traditional form of music (but then again I've heard supposed Skaldic music that actually sounded like that).
Good examples of viking metal guitars:
Ensiferum - "Dragonheads"
Månegarm - "I Evig Tid"
Nomans Land - "Lord of The Seas"
Moonsorrow - "Jumalten Kaupunki"
Greigh - "Ut på Tokt"

Other details. I'll point out several elements here. First of all - non-standard metal instruments. This is usually modern form of what vikings used for playing music (or just making sounds). This includes violins, horns and to some extend flutes. Acoustic guitar is especially common instrument within viking metal. Additionally to make it even more viking-sounding, bands will use warcries, sound of clashing swords and anything that could be heard around 10th century. After all, as long as it makes sound, it can be turned into music. In the end, atmosphere is very important in defining viking metal. And if someone doesn't count atmosphere as something that can define a genre, then he/she can go ahead and scratch out folk metal from the accepted metal genres. Because unlike viking metal, folk metal has absolutely no musical elements that unites all the bands. How do we define folk metal? Metal with elements taken from folk music. How do we define folk music?
[n] the traditional and typically anonymous music that is an expression of the life of people in a community
We can find other definitions, but none will point out any musical elements (and no, using folk instruments alone doesn't make something folk music).

Also to answer questions:
What differs Viking Metal from Black Metal?
Viking Metal is melodic, it has clean sound, uses BM growls only in Black/Viking cross-overs (like Nachtfalke), has slower and rhytmical drumming, uses completely different melodies and deep vocal style that rarely appears in Black Metal.
What differs Viking Metal from Folk Metal?
Viking Metal has epic atmosphere, while Folk Metal expresses life of ordinary people (hence folk, coming from German 'volk'). It's more agressive, usually slower (especially as far as drumming goes), more often uses death growls. It uses deep vocal style, which rarely appears in Folk Metal. It doesn't use 'folk' instruments as richly and the music isn't meant to be 'colourful' and happy.

...I think I wrote too much :\
Angelique - 01.10.2006 at 23:11  
Yes, you describe good what Viking Metal can be about but still I can't see it as a whole own genre, it's just too messy.. for example Ensiferum, Windir and Falkenbach in the same genre? It doesn't make any sense music vise. All in all, no matter I think it's a real genre or not I don't believe this kind of music would be dying, as long as there are people there is a need to get closer to their ancestors, explore old cultures and especially as long as there are people that loves heavier music there will be Viking/heathen/folk metal.
Skald - 01.10.2006 at 23:45  
Written by Angelique on 01.10.2006 at 23:11

Yes, you describe good what Viking Metal can be about but still I can't see it as a whole own genre, it's just too messy.. for example Ensiferum, Windir and Falkenbach in the same genre? It doesn't make any sense music vise.
Well Windir is a Black/Viking cross over, Falkenbach Viking/Folk with tint of Black Metal, while Ensiferum Viking/Folk with tint of Power Metal, so they may be different. But in the end, it doesn't matter. Children of Bodom and Rhapsody (if I had $1 for every time I compared those two ) are much different, but both are power metal.
But I think bands that represent VM best are Manegarm, Thyrfing, Nomans Land, Moonsorrow and alike bands. But that again depends on region.
I noticed there's something I'd call "German Viking Metal", because bands from there are similar to each other in a way that they're usually blackened and symphonic version of VM. I mean bands like Wolfchant, Falkenbach, Nachtfalke, Fjoergyn or Equilibrium.
Promonex - 03.10.2006 at 16:02  
Written by Guest on 01.10.2006 at 23:45

I noticed there's something I'd call "German Viking Metal", because bands from there are similar to each other in a way that they're usually blackened and symphonic version of VM. I mean bands like Wolfchant, Falkenbach, Nachtfalke, Fjoergyn or Equilibrium.

While I agree that the German Viking and Pagan Metal scene has a specific sound, I don't quite understand how Nachtfalke fit into there. I don't see much symphonic aspects in their music and they are more Black Metal with Viking Metal elements than Viking Metal with Black Metal elements. Also I wouldn't call their music epic at all, unlike Falkenbach and Fjoergyn.
Skald - 03.10.2006 at 20:32  
Did you listen to their "As The Wolves Died" album? Blood And Iron is a very good example of German Viking Metal. But I'd agree that the rest of their albums don't have as much Viking elements.
Promonex - 03.10.2006 at 22:47  
I must confess, it's been a while since I listened to them. I've listened to "As the Wolves Died" just now and I gotta agree that it does have some thick synthie layers; I still think it's Viking/Pagan Black Metal (Bombensturm, Bergthron) rather than Blackened Viking/Pagan Metal (Falkenbach, Fjoergyn) though. But in the end it just boils down to the question where exactly to draw the border between Viking/Pagan and Black Metal. As long as we agree that Viking/Pagan Metal does have a certain sound and feeling to it, everything's fine. And as long as we agree that Viking Metal will not cease to be, everything's even better
BestMetalstormer - 24.10.2006 at 14:10  
Windir is black/viking metal, I wonder wut part is main, Viking metal or black metal in Windir's music. I believe Catamenia is black/viking metal. Epic black metal has structure similarly to black/ viking metal. And, I experience that Black/viking, viking/folk, epic black are same of including of clean vocal, harsh vocal, and melodious
Judas - 24.10.2006 at 23:30  
Draklar/Skald, you've said pretty much everything that I wanted to say. I'll summarise it somewhat, by saying that VM, while perhaps not being a full-fledged genre in it's own right, still deserves credit as an independent, recognisably different sub-genre. IMO If you listen to one of the 'pure' Viking bands like Nomans Land, Thyrfing, Asmegin or [Viking era] Bathory, then to one of the VM + ?M bands, you can hear a clear difference in musical structure. A band can be Viking without being Black. Sure, the Folk parts will always be there, but it's the type of Folk that sets it apart. And as long as there are bands playing in the style as described by Skald, Viking Metal will exist.

Incidentally, wasn't there a rather exhaustive topic created on this subject in the old forum?
Revenant - 17.11.2006 at 00:15  
Thyrfing - folk metal
Tyr - heavy metal
Enslaved - progressive black metal
Amon Amarth - mellodic death metal
Thorr's Hammer - doom metal

It's a lyrical theme, not a genre. Most 'viking' bands are either black metal or folk metal
Doom Raven - 02.01.2007 at 19:10  
How many arguments can possibly annoy the hell out of Doom Raven? Apparently many. Viking metal was actually a lyrical theme first as "Blood Fire Death" is still stylistically black metal. Obviously some bands such as Einherjer and Ensiferum have molded a musical style around this idea which is obscenely cool, but that doesn't herald an exclusivity clause against cross-genre bands. The concept is simple; Amon Amarth play Viking death-metal, Grand Magus are Viking-doom, Enslaved are prog-Viking black-metal, Thorr's Hammer is Viking doom-death, Rebellion are Viking power-metal, Falkenbach is Viking folk-metal amd so on and so forth. Disagree all you want, but my definition quells all debate. And anyone who says we don't need labels for certain styles can go get screwed, sub-genres and their subsequent monikers have been a valuable tool for dialog between fans since the underground began. Many a band has gained a fan because someone heard that so-and-so is a great doom band or a killer thrash band or Viking band for that matter. I welcome your comments as long as you tell them to someone else, i.e. not me. Thanks, your genuflection will be noted. Now kneel!
Skald - 14.01.2007 at 17:54  
Accidentally I came across this bit on wikipedia when searching for some information on folk music

"Grand, bombastic rhythms with hymns and chants glorifying and celebrating medieval Scandinavian culture and mythology, Viking metal is generally more epic and darker than folk metal. The two styles emerged parallel to one another but remained distinct till the second half of the 1990s when a number of bands began to blend the two approaches, combining the folk melodies and instrumentation of folk metal with the rhythm and lyrics of Viking metal. Not surprisingly, the overlap between Viking metal and folk metal is strongest in Scandinavia with bands such as Moonsorrow and Ensiferum serving as examples. There are still many bands today that pursue Viking metal without bringing in any folk elements and conversely, many folk metal bands that do not entertain any Viking lyrics or imagery. Nonetheless, the overlap has meant that fans of one genre tend to be fans of the other as well, with many websites and communities over the internet devoted to both music styles, as evident by the external links below. A hard rock variation of Viking metal can be found in such Finnish folk rock as Tarujen Saari and Kivimetsän Druidi."
Doc Godin - 15.01.2007 at 08:27  
This in no way explains the title of the article, you put simply as saying "subgenres fade out, viking metal is a subgenre, therefore viking metal will fade out" uhmmmmmmmm ok, well there are so many places to go with it so it will actually get bigger and bigger, for example; I heard Amon Amarth, very viking and I thought that was viking metal period. then i heard Finntroll, using accordian sounding keyboards, i thought id heard everything, then I heard Moonsorrow, using far more epic & large sounding synth, at that point I thought id heard everything, then I heard Turisas, using actual accordians, actual violins, some real flutes, just showing that just because you doubt the ability to create a new sound within this genre doesnt mean it will cease to be.
Paganblood - 16.01.2007 at 09:09  
Viking metal is the thing that aroused interest towards Norse mythology/religion in me.
Good article anyway!
Opium Magnet - 18.01.2007 at 11:39  
Written by Paganblood on 16.01.2007 at 09:09

Viking metal is the thing that aroused interest towards Norse mythology/religion in me.
Good article anyway!

Religion?

Please elaborate on that... I can't think of anything in relation to Norse religion.
Judas - 18.01.2007 at 12:20  
Written by Guest on 18.01.2007 at 11:39

Written by Paganblood on 16.01.2007 at 09:09

Viking metal is the thing that aroused interest towards Norse mythology/religion in me.
Good article anyway!

Religion?

Please elaborate on that... I can't think of anything in relation to Norse religion.

Well, think of the common Viking Metal bands (bearing in mind that some of them aren't really Viking Metal at all). Most people, who don't have an actual knowledge of the genre, would have a list somewhat similar to this:
Amon Amarth (not VM), Bathory, Ensiferum (not really VM), Enslaved (not VM), Falkenbach (not pure VM), Moonsorrow, Thyrfing, Tyr.

If you look at these bands' lyrics, there is often a focus on the Norse pantheon or the Icelandic sagas, instead of what many think are the standard 'pagan roar battle kill' themes.
Skald - 19.01.2007 at 14:56  
Tyr aren't really VM either. More of progressive metal (with tint of viking and folk).
And I'd put Ensiferum under "not pure VM".
Songs such as Little Dreamer, Lost in Despair, Dragonheads, or Whitestorm are pretty damn VM
Though Jari certainly pushed them towards power metal
Judas - 19.01.2007 at 15:45  
@Skald: Yeah now that I listen to Tyr again, I'm hearing the lack of major Viking-ness properly.

And as for Jari pushing them towards Power Metal, oh well, they still kicked ass!
Opium Magnet - 20.01.2007 at 12:07  
Written by Judas on 18.01.2007 at 12:20

Written by Guest on 18.01.2007 at 11:39

Written by Paganblood on 16.01.2007 at 09:09

Viking metal is the thing that aroused interest towards Norse mythology/religion in me.
Good article anyway!

Religion?

Please elaborate on that... I can't think of anything in relation to Norse religion.

Well, think of the common Viking Metal bands (bearing in mind that some of them aren't really Viking Metal at all). Most people, who don't have an actual knowledge of the genre, would have a list somewhat similar to this:
Amon Amarth (not VM), Bathory, Ensiferum (not really VM), Enslaved (not VM), Falkenbach (not pure VM), Moonsorrow, Thyrfing, Tyr.

If you look at these bands' lyrics, there is often a focus on the Norse pantheon or the Icelandic sagas, instead of what many think are the standard 'pagan roar battle kill' themes.

Big error on my part there, sorry

What I should have said is that I have never heard of such a thing as Norse religion.
Skald - 20.01.2007 at 14:11  
Written by Guest on 20.01.2007 at 12:07

What I should have said is that I have never heard of such a thing as Norse religion.
...You mean you never heard of Odin? Thor? Valhalla?
Jesus_Puncher - 20.01.2007 at 21:38  
i agree with alot of people on Viking Metal not being a real genre... its just a nick name for metal bands with Viking and Norse Themes....i think its just stupid in general to label anything "Viking Metal" along with all the other billion pointless fucking subgenres for each style of metal.if i'm ever talking to anyone in person and they referred to a band as "Viking Metal" or some other Lame "Unnecesary subgenre of a Subgenre of a subgenre" ..i'll call them a "homo"


i also see all these arguments over whats viking and what isnt....who gives a shit....its all metal in the end
Opium Magnet - 21.01.2007 at 10:46  
Written by Guest on 20.01.2007 at 14:11

Written by Guest on 20.01.2007 at 12:07

What I should have said is that I have never heard of such a thing as Norse religion.
...You mean you never heard of Odin? Thor? Valhalla?

*whacks self on the forehead*

Of course! Silly me, sorry about that... damn I feel stupid for not remembering such obvious things... Was there a name for the religion though?
Skald - 21.01.2007 at 11:13  
Well originally pagans didn't know different religions, so they didn't feel a need to seperate their own by any names, but today the belief in Aesir is called Asatru.
blackmagic567 - 17.03.2007 at 04:35  
viking metal will not cease to be because of their devoted fan base. if youve ever been to wacken, amon amarth's fans, and those of other viking metal bands, dress up as vikings and beat the shit out of eachother. and the music kicks ass, and as for the lyrics, manowar wrote more or less about the same stuff (odin, war) and theyve been around for like, 25 years
Darkside Momo - 19.08.2007 at 18:25  
Written by Guest on 01.10.2006 at 17:38


...I think I wrote too much :\

Not so, twas really interesting.
But what I sum up from it is that we could consider Viking as a subgenre of Folk, because it's all about the specific popular, anonymous music of a particular culture. And, we could say of a band that they are Viking Folk Metal, much like we could say of Cruachan or Skyclad that they are Celtic Folk Metal, and so on.

By the way, do you consider that the Enslaved song Havenless is Viking (with the choruses, pounding drums and so forth) ?
Bad English - 23.10.2007 at 12:00  
Amon Amart Viking or melo death ... This article answer it and I agre whit fausto, Angelique, Skald about all, and I use term but in same situations like Anqelique and its same like celic metal, hellenic metal ... whatewer... an dall those who post in forums viking metal and finish melodic death go and read articles
Talvi - 11.12.2007 at 03:38  
Viking Metal it's just Scandinavian Folk Metal. The same way you could say Celtic Metal. So it's just it's genre, be it Black Metal (Moonsorrow) or just Heavy/Doom Metal (Týr), if it has just something, musically or lyrically related to it's folklore, it will be Folk Black Metal or Folk Heavy/Doom Metal, hence being Viking. It's not another sub-genre, but an adjective expressing how it changes it's typical genre sound adding another instrument and with, probably, folklore related lyrics.

But that's just my opinion
4look4rd - 11.12.2007 at 05:49  
Viking Metal is not a subgenre but a style, I heard a variety of bands being called Viking Metal and it ranges from Gothenburg (Amon Amarth,) Power (Wizard,) Doom (Tyr), Black (Bathory), Progressive/folk (Lumsk)

and the list does goes on.... so I dont think it should be classified as its own subgenre
Promonex - 11.12.2007 at 11:06  
Týr = doom??
ArcanaHereticae - 14.12.2007 at 05:10  
Written by Dark Cornatus on 26.09.2006 at 09:00

It was never about the lyrics, nor was anyone ever making it an official genre. You have the wrong idea i think.
It was used to classify those bands that are not folk, doom, black or power metal, but a mixture of them. When someone asks me what genre Moonsorrow is, i call it viking metal, and people understand.
Who said vikings played the flute? That is folk metal. Viking metal is basically war themed music, using repetitive riff structures.


Exactly. Viking Metal is a collaboration of Black, Doom, Folk, and sometimes Power Metal maybe even a hint of fucking Death Metal. I believe that as long as there are bands that have these influences and they are evident in their music, then Viking Metal has a stronger possibility of "staying alive".
Warman - 15.12.2007 at 01:10  
Was Hammerheart the third Bathory record???
Chaosgoat - 06.01.2008 at 09:58  
Written by Warman on 15.12.2007 at 01:10

Was Hammerheart the third Bathory record???

It was their 5th studio album. Before it were Blood Fire Death, Under The Sign Of The Black Mark, The Return, and their self-titled debut.
Fuath - 06.01.2008 at 11:36  
i dont think VM will cease to exist, if anything it might become less known, or less popular, but bands like bathory, and enslaved will always be true VM, im just glad it was invented,

but too me the whole idea if numerous metal genres is really starting to shit me, like mixing three different genres to describe a band, or just one band creating their own genre, even though they sound like alot of other bands
Torelli - 29.01.2008 at 13:25  
I will not bitch about viking metal's wereabout, if it exists common pointers or not. But I've two questions that I really want an answer from you viking metal lovers: Can something be viking metal without viking lyrics and can folk metal with viking lyrics just be common folk metal(not viking)?
Skald - 29.01.2008 at 14:58  
Folkearth has lots of viking-themed songs, but apart a few songs (like Rhyming With Thunder) it's folk metal. Finntroll have lyrics typical for viking metal. But they're folk.

And what do you mean by "viking lyrics"?
If "lyrics about vikings" then obviously. Most of viking metal isn't about actual vikings.
If "lyrics commonly associated with viking metal" then... uh... That would be awfully stupid, wouldn't it? I mean, you don't sing about motorcycles in black or prog metal either.
Torelli - 29.01.2008 at 20:44  
Written by Guest on 29.01.2008 at 14:58

Folkearth has lots of viking-themed songs, but apart a few songs (like Rhyming With Thunder) it's folk metal. Finntroll have lyrics typical for viking metal. But they're folk.

And what do you mean by "viking lyrics"?
If "lyrics about vikings" then obviously. Most of viking metal isn't about actual vikings.
If "lyrics commonly associated with viking metal" then... uh... That would be awfully stupid, wouldn't it? I mean, you don't sing about motorcycles in black or prog metal either.


I meant "lyrics commonly associated with viking metal". Why would it be stupid? If you like and admire the music, but is tired of the common lyrical themes, why shouldn't you be able to write about other things, without going away from the musical roots? Every subgengre has it's steriotype lyrics. You mentioned black metal, which it's commonly associated with satanism and nihlisim, but in this gengre we also have those who write lyrics about a thing many black metal fans despise, namely christianity. It's an ongoing debate whatever black metal with christian lyrics should be called black metal, beacuse of the strong ties with satanism. Basicly, I'm wondering if the lyrics most be "viking metal oriented" to be qualified as viking metal.

Or did you think the question itself was stupid, were the answer is obvious? In that case, my explaination is a little unnecacerry.
Skald - 29.01.2008 at 23:07  
Well it should be possible to incorporate non-viking lyrics into viking metal, but using down-to-earth themes along with the bombastic music would be pretty odd. But then you have songs like Ensiferum's "Iron", which is more western'ish

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